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Bush proposes "Gulf Opportunity Zone"
Small business initiatives key to plan to revive Gulf state economy.
September 15, 2005: 9:45 PM EDT
For more on Bush's speech, click above.

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) - President Bush on Thursday proposed what he called the "Gulf Opportunity Zone" -- a recovery plan that would provide job-creating incentives in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The plan would offer tax relief for small businesses, loan guarantees for small businesses -- including minority-owned businesses -- and other incentives to help revive the region's economy.

"Within this zone, we should provide immediate incentives for job-creating investment, tax relief for small businesses, incentives to companies that create jobs, and loans and loan guarantees for small businesses, including minority-owned enterprises, to get them up and running again," he said.

Bush also talked about his plans for federally funded worker recovery accounts of up to $5,000 for evacuees to spend on job training, classes or child care during the hunt for employment.

"To help lower-income citizens in the hurricane region build new and better lives, I also propose that Congress pass an Urban Homesteading Act," the President said. "Under this approach, we will identify property in the region owned by the federal government, and provide building sites to low-income citizens free of charge, through a lottery. In return, they would pledge to build on the lot, with either a mortgage or help from a charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. Home ownership is one of the great strengths of any community, and it must be a central part of our vision for the revival of this region."

For more on President Bush's Thursday night speech, click here.  Top of page

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